Low Range?

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:00
ThreadID: 7080 Views:1986 Replies:9 FollowUps:12
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Is low range necessary in a lightweight 4wd. I sent a note yesterday on the ablility of the X-Trail. A response was that without low range it will be next to useless off road. My thougts are that 4wd's are heavy bastards of things and when you point them uphill and fight gravity, their weight combined with their modest power will often lose that fight. Hence the need the need for low range to effectively double their power and torque output.

I previously owned a GQ 3 litre petrol Patrol which had 100Kw and 233Nm (neither of which were developed particularly low in the rev range) to haul 1900kg. The X-Trail has 132Kw and 245Nm to lug about a fairly lightweight 1440 Kg. On that basis I am thinking the X-Trail should climb quite efeectively (excluding tracks that will test its ground clearance).

Any thoughts,

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Reply By: diamond (bendigo) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:18

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:18
gday jimbo.
as you know the main reason for low range is to get the torque down lower for hills ect.xtrail has 245nm but thats at 4000rpm so you dont really want to be giving the clutch that much work.as you said height will be your only disadvantage when going off road.if your serious about bying one the dealer will be keen to let you test it out take it somewhere to test it out.bendigo toyota/nissan let you take there 4by to the bendigo off road track to test it out if the customer is really keen.if there not going to let you go to another dealer.if your looking at spending $35000+ go off road.dont let them give you the old we havnt got much petrol.tell them do you want me to buy it put some in then.$35000+is a lot of money 2hrs+ of testing is well worth it.
i also love the xtrail but not enough seats for us or no low range lol :-))šqUC3<BuIL
AnswerID: 30321

Follow Up By: Jimbo - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:22

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:22

thanks for the feedback. For the reasons you mentioned I am looking at an auto to let the torque converter do the work.What do you think?

FollowupID: 21350

Follow Up By: diamond (bendigo) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:30

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:30
gday jimbo.
ive never had anything to do with auto 4bys never even been in one(off road that is)nissan had problems with there autos but should be fixed by now(well you would think so) take an auto and a manual for a test.one saturday a few hours in both should help.is there somewhere you used to drive the gq where you had to use lowrange near you.would be a good test šqUC3<BuIL
FollowupID: 21352

Reply By: Member - Wherethehellawi - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:22

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:22
Its not so much the ability to climb, Rather its the ability to be able to it at a speed that is safe and enjoyable.
Picture this scenario...Manual 4X4
a very rough ie big holes every where, very steep up hill climb.
In a high range one has to put down the foot abit to get momentum to go up but the holes makes your foot hit the pedal ...more speed and then you back off when you hit that hole....less speed oops almost stopped...then its on full throttle and then off...this all happens in succession and one cant prevent it. In a tricky situation with a cliff on one side of the track its out right dangerous!!!One gets tossed very vioently around inside the cabin.
This is where low range comes in ....a lot of throttle means very litle increase in speed and a much more safer trip to the top. If the vehicle has the grunt auto transmission will do it safely in high rangeWow! am I cute
If yer ain't fishing, Yer ain't livin
AnswerID: 30323

Follow Up By: Jimbo - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:26

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:26
Thanks WTH. Where do you fish and what for?

FollowupID: 21351

Follow Up By: Member - Wherethehellawi - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 13:27

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 13:27
I like all fishing but especially fly for trout. (Member of South Oz Fly Fishers Association)
Fish SA waters as I live here!
havent done it elsewhere but want to get to tassy and some parts of vic and nsw to do some... just have to convince her to allow me to go.Wow! am I cute
If yer ain't fishing, Yer ain't livin
FollowupID: 21362

Reply By: Luke - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:32

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:32
Some interesting information has been presented here regarding the climbing ability of a 4WD without low range - all very relevant, but something that hasn't been mentioned is the ability of a vehcile to descend safely?

When tackling steep descents, it's the engine braking ability of low range 4WD that provides you with safety - meaning you can roll down a hill at a controllable speed relying on the engine to provide much or all of the braking without having to ride the brakes.

Riding the brakes down a long steep descent can lead to wheels locking up and loss of traction/control. Also - on an extended descent you may experience some overheating of brakes, and brake fade which might impair your ability to slow down altogether.

For me - I think this is one of the most important aspects of having low-range.


AnswerID: 30324

Follow Up By: diamond (bendigo) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:37

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:37
gday luke.
what about freelander that has hill decent to help it climb slowly down hills.
bit of a shame theres no low range to get you back up it lol :-)))))šqUC3<BuIL
FollowupID: 21355

Follow Up By: Luke - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:43

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 12:43
G'day there Diamond :-)

.....don't know about the Freelanders....know nothing about them :-)


FollowupID: 21357

Follow Up By: diamond (bendigo) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 13:25

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 13:25
hello there again luke.
probly good thing not knowing anything about them my friends sister bought one and its cost her $1000s for little things to be fixed.
he came with me one day to the 4wd track up here geez we were laughing our heads of couldnt really go ant where as long as ity was flat lol :-)))))šqUC3<BuIL
FollowupID: 21360

Follow Up By: Member - Bob - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 20:06

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 20:06
But you must remember that a Freelander is a Landrover and that says it all!
FollowupID: 21397

Follow Up By: diamond (bendigo) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 20:17

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 20:17
gday bob.
i was going to say that but didnt want to upset any one lol.:-)))))šqUC3<BuIL
FollowupID: 21399

Reply By: Member - Andrew(WA) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 13:05

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 13:05

If you want to know first hand the pros and cons of low range, do a short 4x4 course with exprienced people.

I have, and wouldn't buy a 4x4 with out low range at all.

If you don't have low range, you really limit your possibilities.

If your looking at parting with enough $$$$ to by an Xtrail, a 1 - 2 day course would be a good investment prior.

AnswerID: 30325

Follow Up By: GaryInOz (Vic) - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 18:19

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 18:19
...and from the look of the X-Trail be prepared to spend lots of money on replacement rear mufflers.
FollowupID: 21376

Follow Up By: Rhubarb - Monday, Sep 08, 2003 at 10:54

Monday, Sep 08, 2003 at 10:54
You can now buy an after market muffler for the Freelander which tucks up out of the way to avoid this problem.
FollowupID: 21474

Reply By: stevesub - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 16:48

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 16:48
We spent 2 years off roading in the Freelander before we bought the Troopy.

If you go off road with no low range, an auto is a must. You do not tackle cliff faces uphill like you can with low range (you will not make it). Down Hill you use the Hill Descent system and even that is too fast for some hills so discretion and care is needed.

The Troopy is easy as to drive off road after the Freelander

I would not consider going seriously off road without low range or Hill Descent control as the Freelander has. Also most soft off roaders do not have sufficent ground clearaqnce for my liking incl the Freelander
AnswerID: 30340

Reply By: Member - Eric- Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 17:34

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 17:34
Jimbo this is my 10 cents worth , I have a auto 80 series , and think its great , I an safely change gears when climbing hill , were in a manuel , if you made the wrong silection in gear , you would have to roll down and start again . the advantage in a Manuel is that you wil have a better gear ration in first gear which will give you better engine braking on down hills .

My 80 seams to be good enough to tacle most down hill , even the Vic high country , my brother in law had a Explorer auto with going down hill in low range wasnt much diffrent from hi range , we would laugh at him and think he just didnt know how to drive , I drove it down hill once and solt it for him the next day , I organized a Prado for him ( auto ) and realized he isn't a bad off road driver after all .

Ad far as the Landrover Freelander is concerned , we have had many in the workshop with blown head gaskets , this works out to a full re build , since the bores leak after removing the cylinder head , as diamond will discover when he gets one in , the head bolts go throught to the mains ( greaty idea NOT ).

If your going to part with your hard earned dollars for a Xtriail , try and buy 1 second hand with under 50,000 kms , at least you wont loose the first $15,000
I am already getting Xtrail's $ Tributes in fr around $25 to $28 k late 01 models .

I hope this is of some help .
AnswerID: 30345

Reply By: Martin - Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 20:14

Sunday, Sep 07, 2003 at 20:14
I think all of the relevant points have been covered above. The big advantage of low range is being able to go up and down very rough, steep tracks slowly. I crossed the Simpson in my Prado and didn't use low range once as momentum is an important factor in sand. 4 Fergie tractors crossing about the same time couldn't get over Big Red although they had heaps of low range torque. Horses for courses and you have to decide what your course is!
AnswerID: 30366

Follow Up By: Bazza - Monday, Sep 08, 2003 at 13:45

Monday, Sep 08, 2003 at 13:45
G'day Martin,
"Well said" Horses for courses is spot on! I have a older Toyo and a Ford Excape / Mazda Tribute. Both are set up for "comfortable" off-road camping, with all the usual "requirements", although the Escape is also used for every day travel. I have been in some situations where the Escape out performed the Toyo and in others where the Toyo's low range was required. But this only accured because I caused it, by getting in that situation.
My point .... one once of common sence is worth all the low range torque you can muster. Evaluate the situation, and act accordingly.
FollowupID: 21479

Reply By: David N. - Monday, Sep 08, 2003 at 10:00

Monday, Sep 08, 2003 at 10:00
A 4WD without a good low range is NOT a 4WD- it's an AWD (all wheel drive) like a Suburau. Totally useless in many situations off road. I would not touch one with a barge pole if I really intended going off road. Without going into major detail, it's that simple! no contest!
AnswerID: 30425

Reply By: ross - Monday, Sep 08, 2003 at 18:18

Monday, Sep 08, 2003 at 18:18
Another point not mentioned is that having a hi/low range effectively doubles the available ratios and thus more gear options. AWDs or softroaders as some call them usually have an ultra low 1st to partially compensate for their lack of low range and some are better off road than others
.Other things such as ground clearance and axle articulation are missing on these vehicles so that also should be a consideration.
A lot of owners are quite happy with their softroaders although its debateable if they have ever tackled anything more challenging than a entrance to a picnic ground.
I believe the best machine is one that suits your pocket and purposes.I can remember when there was only 2 choices ,landrover or the upstart landcruiser which stole the l/rovers crown.
AnswerID: 30475

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